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THE VINDICATION OF MACKINDER?


CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY, AND RUSSIA’S GREAT POWER RESURGENCE
by
Christopher Layne
Christopher Layne is Professor, and Holder of the Mary Julia and George R. Jordan Professorship of International Affairs at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University. He is the author of The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006), and (with Bradley A. Thayer) American Empire: A Debate (New York: Routledge, 2006).
I am grateful to Shanna Wayhan (Bush School Class of 2008) for her invaluable research assistance in preparing this paper.
Email:
chrislayne@aol.com

clayne@bushschool.tamu.edu

In his famous 1904 article, “The Geographical Pivot of History,” the British geographer Sir Halford Mackinder wrote that Russia had “emerged from her former seclusion in the northern forests” and was poised to challenge the global supremacy of the two great maritime powers, Britain and the United States.1 Mackinder predicted that Russia’s “potentialities in population, wheat, cotton, fuel, and metals [were] so incalculably great, that it is inevitable that a vast economic world, more or less apart, will there develop inaccessible to oceanic commerce.”2 Explicating what would come to be known as the “heartland thesis,” Mackinder raised the specter that Russia would be able to gain control of Eurasia and use its “vast continental resources for fleet-building.”3 If Russia was successful, “the empire of the world would then be in sight.”4 Mackinder’s projection about future Russian dominance became a staple of geopolitics during the 20 century, and was a crucial assumption that underpinned American strategy toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War.



As we know, Russia failed to attain the international political ascendance predicted by Mackinder. Indeed, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-91 - and the political and economic dislocation that followed in its wake - effectively removed Russia from the great power ranks. As the 20thst century ended, a strong case could have been made that Russia’s great power eclipse was permanent. To paraphrase Mark Twain, however, it now seems apparent that reports of Russia’s great power demise were greatly exaggerated. Coupled with Russia’s status as an “energy surplus” state, global climate change has created the conditions for Russia to regain its great power status.5 In this paper, I examine the factors fueling Russia’s resurgence, and discuss the possible geopolitical consequences of a revived Russia - especially the possibility that Europe’s growing dependence on energy imported from Russia could strain the NATO alliance to the breaking point.

Global Climate Change: A New Reality in International Politics

The 2007 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) transformed the debate about global climate change.6 The reality of climate change is now an established scientific fact, even if the exact dimensions and impacts of climate change remain uncertain. Global climate change will affect international security by acting as an accelerator (not a cause) of instability in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Global climate change will intensify the risks of drought, famine, and pandemic diseases in these regions and result in failed states, increased migration and refugee flows, the creation of new terrorist havens, and stronger pressures for international humanitarian intervention. As several reports have suggested, global climate change effects - particularly in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia - could impact U.S. national security interests.7 However, to date most of the discussions about the security effects of global climate change have focused on its potential effects on food and water supplies, disease, and human migration. Less attention has been paid to the potential impact of global climate change on great power politics.



Contrary to doomsday global climate change scenarios, over the next several decades global climate change will produce both winners and losers, and this will affect great power relations. The U.S. National Intelligence Council has recognized this, and has stated its intention to “explore the geopolitics of climate change and how that may shift the relations between major powers.”8 Russia is exhibit A of how global climate change could reshape great power politics over the next several decades. Global climate change will promote Russia’s great power revival in two ways. First, it will boost Russia economically by increasing both agricultural productivity and access to energy resources like oil, coal - and especially - natural gas. Second, Russia will be able to exploit its control of vast energy resources to advance its geopolitical agenda. Here, again, there is a tie-in to global climate change. Global climate change will provide a strong incentive for states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching to cleaner fuels. Indeed, the European Union (EU) has been in the forefront of efforts to reduce the global output of greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, many European states will become even more dependent than they are at present on natural gas supplied by Russia.

Global Climate Change Effects on Russia

Russia is projected to see significant alterations both in average temperatures and in precipitation between the years of 2070 and 2099.9 Russia's fluctuations in temperature are indeed projected to be significant.10 As the chart below illustrates, Russia's average temperature rises is projected by the end of the century to hit unprecedented levels, an average of 7̊C gain in a little over a century.11 On the whole, precipitation is projected to rise significantly as well (See Figures 1 &2).
Figure 1.




Temperature




Precipitation




Region

Present, 1961-90


Future, 2070-99


Present, 1961-90

Future, 2070-99
















Caspian Black Sea

7.85

13.52

1.34

1.32

Far Eastern


-10.56

-2.69

1.05

1.52

North European


2.05

8.60

1.62

2.01

North Urals Siberia

-7.02

1.00

1.30

1.70

Northeast Siberia

-13.97

-5.84

0.79

1.15

South Urals Siberia

-0.25

6.79

1.33

1.62

Southeast Siberia

-5.58

1.48

1.31

1.68

Source: Cline, William. Global Climate Change and Agriculture, 40.

Figure 2.

Region

Temperature Change (̊C)

Precipitation Change (mm/day)










Caspian Black Sea

5.67

-0.02

Far Eastern


7.87

0.47

North European


6.55

0.39

North Urals Siberia

8.02

0.40

Northeast Siberia

8.13

0.36

South Urals Siberia

6.54

0.29

Southeast Siberia

7.06

0.37

Adapted from: Cline, William. Global Climate Change and Agriculture, 40.
Global climate change within projected ranges will help free Russia of the “Siberian curse” by reducing the vast expanse of permafrost which currently make difficult agricultural production, oil and gas exploration, and transportation difficult."12 As a result, Russian agricultural output in the vast Siberian region will likely increase. Thawing soil will also lower oil and gas exploration costs in Western Siberia and open up new fields in Eastern Siberia. Global climate change also promises to thaw the polar ice cap, increasing the navigability of the Arctic Ocean, providing Moscow with strategically important waterways, and unlocking the resource-rich Arctic waters.

Agriculture

Global climate change is likely to increase Russia's agricultural output significantly. There are 17 million square miles of land, much of which is currently under permafrost and has never been agriculturally exploited, making it extremely fertile.13 Russia's climate also oscillates wildly, from 60̊C below in winter and 40̊C above in the summer, with long winters and short, hot summers.14 Global warming not only promises to open up significant chunks of farmland, but also to extend growing seasons with earlier springs and milder winters.15

William Cline argues that by the 2080's, Russian agricultural output will likely grow by 6.2%, a gain of approximately $1.34 billion (in 2003 dollars).16 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report supports this assertion, noting that "global warming will bring positive rather than negative effects for Russia's food security and agriculture since there will be less frost vulnerable and risk-prone agricultural lands."17 The report notes that Russia will experience better survival conditions for crops, longer growing seasons, larger quantities of arable lands, and greater availability of water. These agricultural projections become increasingly important in light of dismal projections for the regions which currently produce the bulk of the world's agricultural goods.18 The UNDP report is quick to note, however, that these climatic spoils may be unevenly distributed along a strong north-south gradient, with southern Russia experiencing more frequent droughts and increasing dryness.19 Droughts like those recently recorded in Yakutia have affected an area of more than 2 million hectares, in addition to the 770,000 hectares worth of crops lost in 2001 due to fluctuations in temperature.20 As a result of these drawbacks to warming, Russian planners may be forced to plan crop planting accordingly.




Energy: Siberia and the Arctic

Global climate change promises to put Moscow in possession of vast amounts of energy resources under the Siberian soil. This newly-accessible wealth will allow Russia to meet its increasing domestic demand, the rising energy demands of its neighbors, most notably China and Japan, and to increase its already significant leverage over the European energy market.

Russia currently supplies all of its domestic energy demands, fifty-five percent of which are met by its natural gas reserves.21 Most of this natural gas demand is created by the space heaters required by the harsh Russian climate and long winters.22 These domestic energy demands, in addition to ambitious exports of both oil and natural gas, have been steadily sapping Russian energy fields, which are aging and heavily regulated by the state. Modern western oil and gas practices have yet to be implemented, a practice which has also taken its toll on energy reserves.23 Russia has targeted its oil production for 490 million tons in 2010 and 520 tons in 2020, but it is unlikely to achieve such numbers without significant exploration of new oil and gas fields.24

Under the Siberian permafrost, however, lies the world's largest proven oil and gas reserve, totaling approximately 74 billion barrels (bbl) of oil and 1,699 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.25 If global climate change thaws out much of region and thereby opens it to oil and gas exploration, the yields could be enormous and production and distribution costs would decrease significantly. Goldstein and Kozyrev (2008) posit that there are up to 200 billion barrels of oil in Western Siberia, 50 billion in Eastern Siberia, and 28 billion in the Russian Far East. In contrast, Iraq boasts approximately 112 billion barrels of oil.26 Other estimates claim that Eastern Siberia holds somewhere between 20 billion barrels (equal to the entire known reserves of the United States) and upwards of 60 billion barrels (half of Iraq's deposits).27

Global climate change means that the "Russian Core" of current drilling, Western Siberia — the region between the Ural Mountains and the Central Siberian Plateau — would experience much more efficient drilling, and Eastern Siberia would be open to new exploration.28 Currently-strapped oil and gas fields would be rejuvenated by extra reserves, making domestic energy demands less of a burden. In addition, shorter, less severe winters mean that Russia will expend less energy resources on heating its population. In essence, domestic energy demands will decrease as energy production increases.

In the summer of 2007, increasing temperatures at the poles caused the Arctic ice covering to shrink by more than a million square miles.29 As the ice becomes open water, it absorbs more solar radiation, resulting in an increasingly rapid melt known as the ice-albedo feedback loop.30 The Arctic ice cap has decreased by over 41 percent over the last 23 years, losing 14 percent of its mass between 2004 and 2005. This ice cap has proven in the past to be the primary impediment to the use of northern shipping lanes, but scientists at the 2007 meeting of the American Geophysical Union projected that by 2013 the Arctic will experience its first ice-free summer.31 U.S. Navy models indicate that by 2050, the Arctic region will likely experience a 1-2̊C increase during the summer, a 7-8̊C increase in autumn, an 8-9̊C increase in winter, and a 5̊C increase in spring.32 Accordingly, the Sea of Okhost will become perennially ice-free and the entire Russian coastline will be navigable by non-specialized ships in the summer. These projected alterations in temperature affect Russia significantly by providing Moscow access to the potential natural resources hidden in the arctic region (and also by opening access to the Northern Sea Route [NSR]).

The energy resources located in the Arctic region are reportedly enormous. As Michael Klare notes, “Many energy experts belive that the Arctic region harbors valuable deposits of oi and gas and that, with the polar ice cap shrinking year b year due to global arming, these reserves could, in the not-too-distant future, be accessible to high-tech drilling”.33 The U.S. Geological Survey projects that the Arctic may contain up to one-fourth of the undiscovered oil and gas sites in the world, especially in the long continental shelf off the coast of Russia.34 Gazprom has already begun developing an estimated 113 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in its Barents Sea territory. Perhaps the most promising reservoir of natural gas is Russia's Shtokman field in the Barents Sea. It is reported to be the largest known gas reserve in the world and Gazprom has already signed deals to drill up to 120 wells.35 Russia's oil reserves are also reportedly substantial. The Ministry of Natural Resources has suggested that unexplored Russian offshore territory may contain up to 586 billion barrels of oil — a number which, though unproven, would, if true, place Russia in the league of leading global oil producers like Saudi Arabia.36

Russian Energy and Power Politics

Energy Wealth and Great Power Resurgence

Global climate change does not guarantee Russia's rise. Rather, it ensures only that that over the next several decades Russia will find itself sitting on a treasure trove. What Moscow does with this wealth will finally answer the question of whether Russia will reemerge as a great power. Geopolitics and global climate change will afford Russia with the opportunity to regain great power status. Whether it actually does so, however, will depend on the capacity of the Russian state. State capacity, has always been problematic for Russia, and explains why it has never fulfilled great power destiny projected by Mackinder and others. Its great power history has been yo-yo-like: a cycle of ups and downs, with more downs than ups.

Having been a dominant force in European politics from the mid-18th century until Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 - to which Russian military power contributed enormously - Russia thereafter began a gradual decline. The extent of its decline was revealed when it was humiliatingly defeated by Britain and France in the Crimean War (1854-56). Although Russia learned the correct lessons from the Crimean War and began a process of modernization and industrialization, its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War revealed its underlying great power weakness. In the years before World War I’s Russia appeared to be on the rise again after this setback, and was perceived by many to be a great power on the upswing. But World War I cut short Russia’s revitalization, and led to catastrophic defeat and the Bolshevik Revolution. The Soviet Union’s defeat of Hitler’s Germany seemed to herald Russia’s revival and, indeed, to raise again the possibility that its control of the Mackinderian heartland would allow it to control Eurasia and challenge the U.S. for global supremacy. The Soviet Union’s collapse (1989-91) removed Russia from the great power ranks. The economic dislocation that Russia endured during the 1990's suggested it would be a long time before it again emerged as a great power.

Historically, Russia was handicapped in attaining - and maintaining - great power status by a number of factors, including: “A general lack of capital, low consumer demand, a minuscule middle class, vast distances and extreme climates, and the heavy hand of an autocratic, suspicious state...”37 For these reasons, throughout much of Russian history, the export of primary products - not industry and manufacturing - has been the main driver of the economy.38 As Paul Kennedy reminds us, even when the Russian economy modernized and expanded (before World War I, under Stalin during the interwar years, and during the period from the early 1950s through the 1970s), its performance was impressive quantitatively, but in qualitative terms lagged well behind rivals like Germany, Britain and the United States. One of Russia’s enduring characteristics is that it often has been “simultaneously powerful and weak.”39

Today, the wealth generated by Russia’s energy resources is fueling both an economic and geopolitical revival. For example, it is estimated that Russia’s GDP will grow by 8% in 2008, and Moscow - which was defaulted on its international obligations and experienced a disastrous collapse in the ruble’s value in the late 1990s - today stands behind only China and Japan as a holder of foreign exchange reserves.40 Whether Russia’s energy-driven upswing will continue, however, is an open question. Global climate change may mitigate some of the climatic conditions that have traditionally hindered Russia’s economic development. At the same time, transportation infrastructure (an historic problem) is inadequate, and the infrastructure of the energy industry itself is aging. Today, a middle class is emerging in Russia, but the economy is still characterized by extremes with respect to income distribution. Corruption pervades everyday life in Russia.41 Under Vladimir Putin and his successor, Dimitry Medvedev, the Kremlin has reverted to its autocratic traditions. Yet questions about the effectiveness of the rule of law may deter inflows of foreign investment. On the other hand, Russia’s energy riches have generated vast amounts of capital.

To continue its recent economic upswing Russia will need both to improve its ability to extract wealth from the economy and society, and to make the right decisions about using its energy-derived revenues. Moscow will need to invest in infrastructure, diversify the Russian economy, and strike a balance between consumption, investment and military modernization. Political scientists and historians have pointed to capacity as critical the critical variable that explains great power success or failure.42 Not all states that have the potential to become great powers actually succeed in reaching that status. Those that fail are done in by the “paradox of unrealized power” because they lack strong administrative machinery capable of extracting wealth from society and converting it into tangible economic and military power.43 Indeed, Theda Skocopol maintains that, “A state’s means of raising and deploying financial resources tells us more than could any other single factor about its exisitng (and immediately) potential capacities to create or strengthen state organizations, to employ personnel, to coopt political support, to subsidize economic enterprises, and to fund social programs.”44 Global climate change effects will present Russia with the opportunity to return to the great power ranks. Whether Moscow cashes-in successfully on this opportunity remains an open question.



Putting “Power” into Power Politics: Russian Energy and Geopolitical Leverage

As Jakub Grygiel observes, “Geopolitics changes with the rise and decline of centers of resources and shifts in [trade] routes.”45 As he notes, historically great powers have struggled to control the lines of communications (trade routes) linking states to key resource centers. When a state controls the line of communications on which other states depend for access to resources, it acquires considerable strategic and economic influence over them.46 When the value of a natural resource changes, this has the “double effect of altering the strategic value of locations and consequently the of the routes connecting them.”47 In the coming decades Russia stands to benefit doubly because it will control vital reserves of two energy source for which there will be intense demand: oil and natural gas. Moscow will also benefit because it will control the lines of communication - oil and gas pipelines - that will link Europe (and possibly China and Japan) to the energy resources located both in Russia itself, and in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The potential energy bonanza that Moscow stands to reap as a result of global climate change will enhance the leverage it already enjoys as an energy-surplus state.

Russia is currently one of the leading suppliers of energy to Europe, providing 27% of its oil needs and 24% of its natural gas needs in 2004.48 In 2003, Russia provided 100% of Slovakia's gas needs, 97% of Bulgaria's gas needs, and 79% of the Czech Republic's gas needs.49 Russia and the EU's energy partnership has so far been characterized by an exchange of European investment for pipelines which route resources to Europe. Today, Russia's crude oil is pumped west through three main pipelines: the Druzhba, the Baltic Pipeline System (BPS), and the Adria. The Druzhba has two sections. One runs from Belarus, to Ukraine, to Slovakia, to the Czech Republic, to Hungary. The other runs from Belarus to Poland and Germany. The BPS carries crude from West Siberia and the Tyumen-Pechora region to the Port of Primorsk on the Gulf of Finland, allowing Russia to access the northern European market without transiting through the Baltic states. The Adria pipeline runs between Croatia and Hungary.50 Finally, Gazprom, Rosneft and Transneft are building a pipeline from Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast to the Greek city of Alexandroupolis on the Agean, which will carry oil from both Russia and Kazakhstan to the Mediterranean.

Through the state-controlled energy giant Gazprom, Moscow has extended its control over natural gas pipelines leading to Europe as well. These pipelines consist of the Yamal-Europe line, which connects Russia to Germany and Poland via Belarus, and the Blue Stream line which connects Russia to Turkey with routes underneath the Black Sea.51 Additonally, three new gas pipeline projects are under development. The North Trans-Gas pipeline will link Russia to Denmark and ultimately the UK via the Baltic and North Seas.52 The “North Stream” pipeline under the Baltic Sea will link Germany directly to Russian natural gas supplies. The “South Stream” pipeline will run under the Black Sea and link Russia to Bulgaria, Greece and Italy.

State-controlled energy companies like Gazprom, Roseneft and Transneft are powerful. Gazprom, especially, has valuting ambitions. Recently, Alexey Miller, Gazprom’s chairman, declared that in coming years the company will emerge as the “the most influential [firm] in the energy business.”53 These companies all are used by Moscow to advance Russia’s geopolitical goals, and Gazprom has been called "one of Russia's main foreign policy tools."54 Russia is already one of the leading suppliers of oil and gas to Europe, with the power to set prices and control supply. As Michael T. Klare observes, “At present, Western European countries rely on gas for about 23 percent of their combine energy supply.”55 Global climate change will increase the EU’s reliance on Russian energy as the EU turns to natural gas as a clean energy alternative to coal and petroleum. As Klare notes, European dependence on Russian natural gas “is certain to rise as they cut back on their use of coal and petroleum in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol (and any successor agreements).”56 Russia, as its leading producer, will increase its leverage significantly over the European energy market. If the melting of the Arctic Sea provides quicker transport routes to European ports, as well as increasing reserves of natural gas, Russia's hold over Europe would be solidified.

In order to turn new resources into increasing political and economic leverage, Russia will have to increase its oil and gas production and pipeline systems. This venture will requires massive amounts of investment, with the Russian Energy Research Institute estimating that upgrades to its development and transport capabilities will require $100 billion.57 Moscow's internal political and economic climate, however, discourages the necessary investment. Russia currently suffers from poorly enforced intellectual property rights, heavy regulation, governmental inefficiencies, as well as a tendency to dismantle companies the central government deems dangerous.58 Moreover, Moscow appears to be moving toward new regulations requiring foreign energy firms that wish to invest in Russia to do so in partnership with the big state-controlled Russian firms. Many non-Russian energy analysts believe that the uncertain investment climate will discourage foreign investment, and thereby deny Russia access to the capital and technology it will need to exploit the as yet untapped oil and natural gas reserves in Siberia, and offshore.59

If Russia can surmount the obstacles to modernizing its energy infrastructure and exploiting its natural gas and oil reserves, however, it will enjoy increasing geopolitical leverage - especially over Europe. In recent years, Moscow has shown no hesitation about using control over natural gas as a geopolitcal weapon. In a what ostensibly was a dispute about price, on 1 January 2006, Gazprom turned-off the flow of natural gas to Ukraine. Kiev claimed that Gazprom's action was punishment for the election of Viktor Yuschenko over Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate Russia supported.60 The effects of Russian actions rippled outward and affected Europe. The main Gazprom pipeline to Western Europe ran through Ukraine’s territory, and Kiev aine siphoned off natural gas from the pipeline that was intended to be delivered to customers in Europe. This led to European protests against Gazprom’s. Two days later, Russia resumed supply to Ukraine at previous levels.61 Russia has also used its control over natural gas as political leverage by cutting off supplies to Georgia and Belarus in 2007.62 Moscow, of course, argued that Gazprom's actions were a legitimate business practice. However, others - especially in Europe (and in Washington, D.C) started to question Russia's reliability as an energy supplier. Indeed, "[m]any European officials viewed the Russian action as an attempt to use gas as a political weapons to blackmail a neighboring consumer state that depends heavily on Russian supplies of natural gas."63

Conclusion: The Geopolitics of Climate Change

As the greatest of American philosophers - Yogi Berra - once observed: “Making predictions is hard - especially about the future.” Nevertheless, it is already possible to see how global climate change could affect international politics in the 21 century. First, Russia is sitting on top of vast reservoirs of two vital natural resources: oil and natural gas. Russia is presently reaping a vast economic windfall that is increasing its wealth and driving its economic revival. To be sure, there are important - unresolved - questions about the capacity of the Russian state to invest this wealth wisely to ensure balanced economic growth in the future, and to create the conditions in which as yet untapped energy reserves can be exploited. If Moscow can make the right decisions, Russian power will revive. And as the economy grows, Russia will be able to rebuild its military power. Indeed, Russia already is flexing its muscles militarily. For the first time since the Cold War, Russian aircraft are patrolling far-out into the Atlantic and Pacific, and Moscow has embarked on a military modernization program.

Climate change effects will also give Moscow even more leverage over Europe than it already enjoys today. For the EU - with its strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gases - natural gas is a “clean” alternative to hydrocarbons like coal and petroleum. Russia already is the EU’s main source of natural gas, and the EU’s energy dependence on Russian natural gas will grow in coming decades. The EU has been criticized severely for allowing itself to become ever-more dependent on Russian supplies of oil and natural gas.64 As Michael Klare speculates, however, the EU may have already passed the point of no return with respect to its energy dependence on Russia. To put it bluntly, for the EU there is no alternative to increasing reliance on Russia for oil and natural gas.65

Of course, this reliance comes with a political cost. In a preview of coming attractions, in July 2008, Moscow apparently retaliated against the Czech Republic’s agreement to host a U.S. missile defense tracking radar by curtailing the flow of Russian oil to Prague. Those with a good grasp of the history of transatlantic relations during the Cold War will see potential echoes here. During the 1970s Western Europe’s desire for detente and increasing trade with Moscow clashed with Washington’s confrontational stance toward the Soviet Union. Indeed, one of the major transatlantic flashpoints occurred in the late 1970s/early 1980s when the West Europeans sought build a pipeline to the Soviet Union in order to import Russian energy supplies - a pipeline that the U.S. tried to block by embargoing the export of American-manufactured steel pipe to Western Europe.66

It is not a stretch to think that the question of how to deal with Russia could - as it often did during the Cold War - once again cause a deep transatlantic rift. Already, there are differences between the U.S. and key European states like France and Germany about the wisdom of further expanding NATO to admit Ukraine and Georgia, and about U.S. plans to deploy ballistic missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. At the same time, there is an groundswell of opinion in the U.S. foreign policy elite that believes a new ideological Cold War is in the offing between an autocratic Russia and a democratic United States.67 And, Washington’s policy of expanding its influence in the Caucasus and in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia - largely driven by the Washington’s desire to gain access to the region’s oil and natural gas reserves, and compete with Moscow in controlling the pipelines that deliver the region’s oil - is certain to heighten the geopolitical rivalry between the U.S. and Russia.68



To be sure, global climate change alone is not responsible for all of these trends. But in coming decades, however, it certainly will play a major role in re-shaping international politics. Global climate change will create the conditions for Moscow’s economic - and military - resurgence by increasing Russia’s wealth. The imperatives of combating global climate change will make the EU increasingly more dependent on Russian natural gas. The EU’s reliance will create new strains in the transatlantic relationship. Finally, as climate change effects bolster Russia’s power, the U.S. will have adjust the fact that Moscow again will be a major player in the balance of power in the three most important regions of the world: Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East/Central Asia. Global climate change may be a new phenomenon from a scientific standpoint, but there is nothing new about its geopolitical impact. Competition between (or among) great powers for access to natural resources and control of the lines of communication to them is as old as international politics itself. Global climate change has introduced a new dynamic to the game of great power politics, but the game itself remains the same.

1 H. J. Mackinder, “The Geographical Pivot of History,” The Geographical Journal, 22:4 (April 1904), p. 433.

2 Ibid., p. 434.

3 Ibid., p. 436.

4 Ibid.

5 This term is borrowed from Michael T. Klare, Rising Powers: Shrinking Planet (New York: Metropolitan Press, 2008).

6 TBA - IPCC Report

7 Thomas Fingar, “Statement for the Record: National Intelligence Assessment on the National Security Implications of Global Climate Change to 2030,” June 25, 2008 - TBA; National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (Washington, D.C.: The CNA Corporation, 2007) - TBA; Colloquium Brief: “Global Climate Change: National Security Implicatiions” (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College and Triangle Institute for Security Studies, 2007), https://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB779.pdf

8 Fingar, “Statement for the Record,” p. 20.

9 William R. Cline, Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country (Washington, D.C.: Peterson Institute, 2007) 40. http://www.cgdev.org/doc/books/Cline%20global%20warming/Chapter%204.pdf

10 For an in depth discussion of the manner in which various Russian ecosystems are likely to change, see Renat Perelet, Serguey Pegov, and Mickhail Yulkin, “Climate Change: Russia Country Paper,” United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report, 2007/2008, 13-14. http://hdr.undorg/en/reports/global/hdr2007-2008/papers/perelet_renat_pegov_yulkin.pdf

11 Ibid.

12 See Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia in the Cold (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003) and Allen C. Lynch. How Russia is not Ruled: Reflections on Russian Political Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 195-238.

13 Jay Boggs and Adam Williams, et al., Too Hot to Handle: Climate Change, Geopolitics, and U.S. National Security in 2025 (College Station, TX: George Bush School of Government and Public Service, 2007), 21.

14 Lynch, 225.

15 Easterbrook, 57.

16 Cline, 70.

17 Perelet, Pegov, & Yulkin, 19.

18 Easterbrook, 63.

19 Perelev, Pekov, & Yulkin, 12.

20 Ibid, 19.

21 U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Country Brief Analysis: Russia Background.” http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/Russia/Background.html

22 Asia Pacific Energy Research Center. “APEC Energy Demand and Supply Outlook 2030.” http://www.ieej.or.jp/aperc/2006pdf/Outlook2006//ER_Russia.pdf.

23 Bernard A. Gelb, “Russian Oil and Gas Challenges,” Congressional Research Service, January 3, 2006, 3.

24 Lyle Goldstein and Vitaly Kozyrev, “China, Japan and the Scramble for Siberia,” Survival 48:1 (Spring 2006), 165.

25 US Energy Information Administration. "Country Analysis Brief: Russia." http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Russia/full.html. April 18, 2008.

26 Goldstein & Kozyrev, 176.

27 Ibid, 168.

28 Boggs, et al, 21.

29 Scott G. Borgerson, “Arctic Meltdown,” Foreign Affairs 87:2 (Mar/Apr 2008), 63-77.

30 Ibid

31 Ibid.

32 The Arctic Ocean and Climate Change: A Scenario for the US Navy (Arlington, VA: United States Arctic Research Commission, 2002), 2. http://www.natice.noaa.gov/icefree/NavyArcticPanel.pdf

33 Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, p. 113.

34 Borgerson,

35 Adam, David, "Global Warming Sparks a Scramble for Black Gold Under Retreating Ice." The Guardian, April 18, 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/apr/18/environment.oilandpetrol. Accessed: April 19, 2008.

36 Borgerson - TBA. Saudi Arabia’s current proven reserves amount to approximately 260 billion barrels.

37 Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Power: 1500 to 2000 (New York: Random House, 1987), p. 172.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid., p. 233

40 Megan K. Stack and Borzou Daragahi, “Nations with Vast Oil Wealth Gaining Clout,” Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2008, http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fg-oil17-2008jul17,0,6710073.story

41 See Peter Finn, “Taking on Russia’s Ubiquitous Bribery,” Washington Post, July 14, 2008, p. A9.

42 See Correlli Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (New York: William Morrow,1972); Kennedy, Rise and Fall of the Great Powers; Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).

43 David A. Baldwin, “Power Analysis and World Politics: New Trends versus Old Tendencies,” World Politics, 31:2 (January 1979), pp. 161-94.

44 Theda Skocopol, “Bringing the State Back In,” in Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, & Theda Skocopol, eds., Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 16-17.

45 Jakub J. Grygiel, Great Powers and Geopolitical Change (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), p. 22.

46 Ibid., pp. 26-30.

47 Ibid., p. 32.

48 "An External Policy to Save Europe's Energy Interests." European Commission (2006), 5; Gawdat Bahgat, “Europe’s Energy Security: Challenges and Opportunities,” International Affairs 82:5 (2006), 970.

49 Gelb, 7.

50 Ibid, 7.

51 Bahgat, 970.

52 Gelb, 10.

53 Ed Crooks, Carola Hoyos, and Catherine Belton, “Gazprom Chief Sets Out World Vision, Financial Times, 26 June 2008, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1dfc6cbc-43c2-11dd-842e-0000779fd2ac,dwp_uuid=7c485a38-2f7a-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8,print=yes.html

54 Gelb, 5

55 Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, p. 111.

56 Ibid.

57 Goldstein & Kozyrev, 168.

58 Gelb, 12.

59 Catherine Belton, “Moscow’s Tightening Grip,” Financial Times, 9 November 2007.

60 See Nikolai Sokov, “The Ukrainian Gas Crisis Revisited,” Current History (October 2006), 348; Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, 109-110.

61 Sokov, “The Ukranian Gas Crisis,” 349.

62 Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, 109-111.

63 Bahgat, 962.

64 For example, see Robert Amesterdam, “Rolling Over to the Kremlin’s Manipulation,” Financial Times, 9 November 2007.

65 As Klare says, “With local gas production - mostly concentrated in the North Sea - in decline, and alternative suppliers in Africa and the Middle East, the only plausible source of increase supplies is, of course, Russia. Rather than turn their backs on Moscow, European leaders have largely chosen to acquiesce in Russia’s dominance in the energy field, and to encourage their national firms to eke out what profits they can from cooperation with Gazprom and other Russian enterprises.” Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, 111-12.

66 For a good discussion, see Angela Stent, From Embargo to Ostpolitik: The Political Economy of Soviet-West German Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

67 See Ronald D. Asmus, “A War the West Must Stop,” Washington Post, 15 July 2008, p. A19; Robert Kagan, “Ideology’s Rude Return,” Washington Post, 2 May 2008, p. A21; Daniel Dombey and Neil Buckley, “ U.S. Fears Diplomatic Effects of Putin Power,” Financial Times, 15 December 2007, p. 4

68 On the U.S.-Russia competition for influence in the Caucasus, see Stefan Wagstyl, “Contested Caucasus,” Financial Times, 14 July 2008, p. 6.






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